All of us seek the approval of others at some point in our lives, especially when we are little. And it is normal to do so; Babies and children do not yet know what “is expected of them”, or what they are good at, how hard they can go to get what they want, etc.
During their early years they will need someone to guide or accompany them on this path, so that they can walk it alone when they are older, feeling proud of themselves without expecting (or needing) anyone to be.
How to show our son that we are proud of him? We will see how this is not incompatible with promoting his independence and that he himself, little by little, recognizes how valuable he is and does not need anyone to feel that way.
How to show him that you are proud?
It is good that we show our children that we are proud of them, but always looking for the balance between saying it every day or never saying it. Why?
Because if we tell them (or show them) constantly, there is a risk that they will become dependent on those comments to feel good about themselves, as well as the fear of taking a step without our approval.
And if we go to the opposite extreme (never say so), we are running the risk of developing low self-esteem or thinking that we are not proud of them.
Logically, self-esteem also depends on other variables , which have nothing to do with this, but making them see that we are proud of them is an important ingredient that will help them in their personal development.
But, how do we show them that we are proud of them, looking for that “middle ground”? We can do it in multiple ways, either through language, both verbal (with words) and non-verbal (with gestures) and through actions, which can also be diverse.
Instill in them the importance of feeling proud of themselves
It is important to tell our children that we are proud of them, yes, but also to instill in them the importance of feeling proud of themselves , regardless of what others think.
Therefore, it is positive for them to foster self-confidence (let them do things on their own, ask them for small tasks, challenges…), independence and self-esteem.
Praise the effort, not the goal itself
When it comes to showing our children that we are proud of them, it is important to value the effort they make when they want to achieve something, and not if they finally achieve it. In other words, try to value the process that your child follows to achieve what is proposed , and not so much the goal (or the achievement, the victory) itself.
Be careful how you praise
The praise is positive but in its fair measure; avoid praising everything or overdoing the praise as this could send the wrong message to the child.
The way we encourage our children can condition their perception of themselves; let’s take care of it, let’s use understandable words for the child and a natural tone when praising.
Avoid phrases they can’t understand; concrete
There are some phrases that should be avoided when showing our children that we are proud of them, or praising them. For example, when they are babies, it is not recommended that you say “good job!”, when the children acquire a new skill, such as starting to walk.
You can say it, yes, but they will not understand it. What do you think a baby will understand by “good job”? Instead of this phrase, you can say “you walked”, and accompany the message with a huge smile, a thumbs up, a kiss, etc.
Name what you are proud of
In this way, to make it easier for them to understand the message, try to name what you feel proud of, make it something concrete; For example, “I’m proud of you because you worked hard for this exam” (regardless of the result), or “I’m proud of you because you’ve adapted very well to this new course.”
Conveys clear and positive emotions
As the saying goes, ” to the good listener, few words “. So, regardless of whether our message contains words, let’s also use gestures and emotions to express what we feel.
The fact of transmitting clear and positive emotions will make children perceive that pride that we are trying to show them as parents. Emotions can be transmitted in multiple ways.
First, logically, truly feeling them (never exaggerating them) , and second, accompanying the verbal message with a nonverbal language consistent with that message, adapting our tone of voice, pauses, body language, gestures, etc.
Show them that we are proud, but that they can feel that way too
It is important to demonstrate this pride that we mentioned because young children are still being formed in all senses; physical, emotional, social…
In a certain way, and especially in early childhood, they need adults to gain security and self-confidence , and to know when they are doing things in a positive way.
Showing them that we are proud of them (without doing it constantly due to the risks we mentioned) will help them to strengthen their identity and self-esteem, and to know that the things they do have a special meaning for someone.
However, it is also important that they feel proud of themselves and not always seek that approval to act. Giving them independence, trusting them and teaching them to be able to appreciate their strengths are some things that we can do as parents to cultivate that self-esteem that will lead them to feel proud of who they are.
Photos | Cover (Freepik)